The best game of Eli Manning’s best season came Sunday night in his second home of Dallas. No quarterback has looked more consistently comfortable in JerryWorld.
Eli’s numbers this season indicate he’s a top-five quarterback, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. His protection has failed. His receivers have dropped so many key passes.
Manning continues to rise to a level few of us ever expected him to reach, completing low percentage passes like few other NFL quarterbacks. Manning is trying throws most quarterbacks don’t attempt. And pulling them off in the fourth quarter.
This is the best Manning has ever played in his career and it’s not close. That includes New York’s Super Bowl run.
Sunday night’s 37-34 comeback win was a season-saver. The Giants trailed by 12 points when they got the ball back with under six minutes to go. The Cowboys are getting used to blowing leads like this. And Manning is getting used to authoring incredible comebacks.
Here’s what else we learned:
1. Tony Romo has been very streaky for a month. He’s terrific on one drive and he misses two straight throws on the next one. Romo had Miles Austin streaking wide open on a third-and-five play with just over two minutes left.
He knew Austin had one on one coverage. Austin beat his man easily. Romo missed him. Austin said he lost the ball in the lights. Hit that play, and the game is over.
2. Romo did a nice job setting up Dan Bailey for a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation. This game is hardly all on Romo. Giants all-world defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul blocked the attempt.
JPP makes game-changing plays on a weekly basis. He had two key sacks of Romo, a monster stuff of Felix Jones to help get the ball back in the final five minutes, and another big open field tackle of Jones. If there was a ballot for Defensive Player of the Year, Pierre-Paul would be in my top-five. He’s been doing this all year.
3. Romo wasn’t the only Cowboys star to make a bone-headed play in the final minutes. DeMarcus Ware was called for an offside penalty that wiped out a huge loss by the Giants.
4. Felix Jones had a big night. With DeMarco Murray likely out for the year, Jones will be a key to the rest of this Cowboys season.
5. Jason Garrett still needs help with his timeout work. He wasted valuable seconds when the Giants had the ball late, while the television cameras showed the entire Jones family screaming for a timeout. (Garrett then did take one.)
6. Between 1960-2010, the Cowboys lost two games when they were ahead by at least 12 points in the fourth quarter. This was the third time it’s happened this year.
Rob Ryan’s defense is largely to blame. They gave up chunk plays all game and got pushed around by a previously weak Giants running game. New York had 510 yards of offense.
7. What a difference a comeback makes. The Giants were just about out of the playoff race if they lost. Now they are in first place and get the Cowboys in Week 17 in Metlife Stadium.